Hello, friends! I’m Becky, the gal behind Thistle & Hart Fiber Co., a little hand-dyed yarn company in beautiful Oregon. I don’t know about you all, but for me, 2018 was a year of dramatic change, full of high highs and low lows. After years of dyeing yarn for fun, I finally started my own business! And, also, with no experience or real aptitude for it, I started my own business. *gulp* It’s funny how one thing can be both incredibly exciting and the most terrifying thing you’ve ever done- but really, it’s all a matter of perspective.
When I started dyeing yarn, it was a hobby. I was obsessed with the indie yarn I saw in yarn stores and I wanted to try my hand at working with dye and combining colors to make interesting patterns and effects. After a while, and a lot of interest from friends and family, I considered that maybe I should try and sell some of my yarn. I had fallen in love with dyeing and was at my happiest when I was surrounded by the smell of wet wool. So, with the help of my husband’s more mathematically-inclined brain, I made a ridiculous number of lists and crunched all the numbers and finally took the plunge, creating Thistle & Hart.
During those first few months in business, I doubted my decision almost DAILY. I had traded in a busy but comfortable stay-at-home-mom routine for a manic, all-consuming, weird baby-business (on top of my SAHMing gig). I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing, and I spent late nights reading articles, listening to podcasts, and picking the brains of more established business owners. I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and a little bit crazy. One night, I was feeling particularly down. It had been a rough week of minimal sales, no time to dye, lots of unexpected expenses, and a daughter in full tween mode. I went to sleep feeling utterly defeated and thinking, “there is no way I can stay in business.” After I finally drifted off, I had a dream. I was standing alone, and as my eyes surveyed the room, I saw my father standing in the distance smiling at me. He had passed away about 3 years prior, and as soon as I saw his face, I burst into tears. He was the most inspirational person in my life and embarking on this great creative adventure without him had been one of the hardest parts of the past few months. In my dream, I stood there crying hard and with every tear, it felt like all the worry and panic inside of me disappeared. I woke up the next morning with the word ‘perspective’ ringing in my ears, and got out of bed feeling about 100 lbs lighter and with a renewed determination to make Thistle & Hart succeed.
Irving Berlin said, “Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.” The ‘grind’, the ‘hustle’, whatever you want to call it, is undeniably important. There’s no way to get places in your life without working hard for it, but I think sometimes we don’t put enough weight on our attitude and outlook. We think that hard work is all that matters, but how we perceive and react to the things in our life makes an incredible difference in whether we’re successful. In my case, I let the stress of jumping into the deep end of the pool drown my joy, and instead of seeing myself as a brave, creative entrepreneur, regardless of my limited, but slowly growing business acumen, I gave into negativity and convinced myself that a slow week meant I was an incompetent failure. My dream reminded me that I should be proud of what I had accomplished so far. I had taken a huge risk, and despite having never run a business before, there I was- running a business.
It can be hard to not get wrapped up in the negative things in our life. Whether it’s every day responsibilities, work, or relationships, it’s a lot easier to find the things we want to change rather than the things we’re doing right. It’s important to make time to get fresh perspective when we need one. Try to step outside of yourself and look at things objectively. Maybe you feel like the world’s worst parent because your kids ate chicken nuggets 3 out of 7 nights this week. But maybe it was because you were too busy sitting on the sidelines during soccer practice, encouraging them and cheering them on. Or maybe after working on a pattern design for months, testers are sending back pages and pages of notes pointing out mistakes. Instead of feeling embarrassed or doubting your abilities, be thankful that you chose some badass testers who are committed to making your design the best it can be.
And next time you feel like you’re failing, or like there is never any way you’ll be able to start that business, or juggle your schedule, or learn that skill, stop and take a breath. Take a minute to do something that makes you feel good and reminds you how incredible you are and how far you’ve already come. I am so glad I didn’t throw in the towel all those months ago. My life has been enriched in more ways than I can count thanks to my little yarn company, and instead of living in a state of constant self-doubt, I choose to see every day as a new opportunity to learn and grow. It’s all a matter of perspective. <3